How You Know You Are Having A Bad Day

Clue Number One.

Going through security at the airport to start a long trek home.  The 20 something TSA agent looks at my drivers license, then at me, back to my DL and ba ck at me. “You look much happier in the picture.”

I look worse at this minute than my DRIVERS LICENSE PICTURE. Wow.

No additional clues needed.

This wasn’t even the day I sat on a plane for 4 hours with several crying babies. The day started well enough, though damn early (4:45 my local time). Breakfast schmoozing with client, check. Good first meeting of the day. Check. Get ass kicked by a high-powered, all-knowing executive type in a meeting that I was not originally supposed to be at. Check.

Ok, that is when I started losing that keen DL smile. On to a 3 hour call that generally went well until someone tells me that something I know to be false to be true. He is in a power position. Telling him that he is wrong would not have helped. Ass kicking #2. Check.

Head for airport security…you know the rest.

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Not Your Next American Idol

I work in a fairly buttoned down profession. Many of the people who do what I do are straight-laced. Occasionally you meet some people with flair and talents well outside our line of work. For example, one former co-worker had been a professional dancer of the Lord of the Dance variety.

And then there was Joey.

I am not sure where we found Joey. Rumor was that a gaggle of my co-workers were in a bar one night and they met this strange man-child who asked what we did and whether there were any openings. Next thing I knew there was Joey showing up for work.

JoJo, as I started calling him, was a good employee. I was a seasoned pro when he started and he was one of the new guys. He learned quickly, did not let his lack of prior experience in what we do get in his way and he did good work. But really who cares about Joey as a worker bee.

We care, and you should care, about Joey the singer. Now JoJo was not your next American Idol. He was not a rocker, an R&B guy and not even a little bit country despite his Virginia roots.

Nope. Joey sang Barber Shop. You know, striped pole. Quartet. Music Man.

He had a group of his own but also sang in a large chorale groups. He competed in real competitions. I am ashamed to say that I never got to see JoJo perform in his groups. The closest I came was his last night when a bunch of us went to a karaoke bar (I did my best Elvis imitation. True story.)

Joey left our Chicago office and moved to Atlanta to be marry a woman whose smile could light up a dark room. Good move on his part. But contact slowed to a crawl.

Today Joey called to see how things were going. We caught up. His family is good, beautiful wife and two young children. Work is good. But he has not sung in a group in quite a while. Fortunately for the world, or the three readers of this blog, he was caught on video and stored on YouTube.

Here he is with his group the Pinstripes. (JoJo is the handsome one in front of the mike. BTW Joey, the music is much better than the comedy. Where did you get your routine? An old Red Skelton show?)

Here he is, my fav barbershop singer, Joey.

At The Mercy Of The Weather gods

One night trip to NY and back.

Last Night. 3 hour delay. In hotel at 1 AM. 4.5 hours sleep. Perfect set up for a big Monday morning meeting.

Today. Flight canceled. At airport by noon. Rescheduled for an 8 pm flight which undoubtedly will be late.

On standby. Will try to get on one of the flights not yet cancelled. Earliest departure time would be 5 pm.

I must have done something to really piss off the weather gods. It is January and there is not a snowstorm. Just a little rain. Why that would cancel flights I do not know.

Have learned to pack extra underwear and socks.

Anniversaries

Yes today is an historic day. The first African American President was elected today.

But that is not the sole reason why today made history. The election is a mere footnote next to the 2nd anniversary of 48Facets. Yes two years. Amazing. Many thought it could not be done but with the chant of Yes We Can ringing in my ears it has happened. It started in a small shack on November 4, 2006. After hundreds of emails to Frank asking how do you set these darn things up. It happened. First on Vox and now hosted by WordPress. We look forward to at least 4 more years.

Perhaps even more amazing in its own way is that yesterday was the 28th anniversary of my start in consulting. I began when I was 12 (my standard joke). Chris, who sits in the cubicle outside my office and does the same kind of work, was 3 months old when I started. I came to this career by accident and have wanted to find something else for many of these 28 years. But it turns out that I am good at what I do and Ihave no idea what else would maintain our modest standard of living. 28 years…and a day. Wow.

 

p.s. On a more serious note as I was contemplating my 2 years in the blogosphere I heard on NPR that November 4 was also the day that U.S. citizens at the Iranian embassy were taken hostage in 1979. Day 1 of their 444 days in captivity. The Iranian Hostage Crisis dominated the news and kept the 66 Americans in our hearts and minds for over a year. There but for the grace of G-d…

iranhostages2

White Man Ironic

The company I work for tries hard to celebrate the diversity of people. They put on seminars and meetings to acknowledge peoples of all types by sex, race, sexual orientation, etc.

I was not surprised then by the latest poster advertising a seminar on helping your children embrace diversity in the world. The picture of the speaker for the seminar did catch my eye and cause me to smile. Did no one in leadership see what I saw? The person leading the discussion of diversity will be a middle aged white male. Can’t get more diverse than that!

The Longest Day

The longest day is one that lasts more than 24 hours.  Though last year I was on more airplanes than in any previous year I do not remember not having made it to wherever I intended to be. Last night I could not get home.

I awoke yesterday in Allentown, PA. We were with our client from 8:30 -1:30 and then drove back to the local airport in a steady snow. It had also been snowing in Chicago so I knew that delays were certain. There was only one flight that night from Allentown, PA. back to Chicago and the plane we were to be on was coming from Chicago. By the time we arrived at the airport our flight showed a scheduled delay of  2 hours. As a seasoned traveller I was certain it would not leave that night and if planes did not get in there would be none leaving in the morning. Since we had already eaten at the “best” restaurant in town we immediately thought “Road Trip!”.

The choices were Philly or Newark. I pulled for Philly because if I ended up staying over I knew that I could share good times and  an excellent meal with the friends I have in town. My colleague, who controlled the rental car, on the advice of those at United Airlines, voted for Newark and I could not persuade him otherwise. So Newark, NJ here we come.

Two hours in the car. Wait-listed on a flight scheduled to leave in an hour from the time we checked in. Flight delayed another hour within moments of settling into the airport lounge. More waiting by the gate as the departure time gets pushed further and further back. I have fairly high status on United after my travels last year. One level above my colleague. I get a middle seat but at least I am on. He does not get on that plane.

In the perverse world of flying in winter, he is better off. The later flight that he was to be on got canceled 20 minutes before mine. By rescheduling immediately he was booked on a flight out of the same airport the next morning. By the time I got off the plane the best I could get was a noon flight out of LaGuardia which is 32 miles, several bridges and tunnels away. In the perverse world of flying in winter I was happy to get that since for the 5 minutes before being confirmed I was told I could not leave until Thursday.

My colleague claimed that he had gotten two rooms at a Newark airport hotel. I meet him at the luggage carousel. (BTW I had had to check my bag in order to get on the plane that ended up not going to Chicago because the carry-on bins were full.) More waiting. While waiting I asked how he had been lucky enough to snag rooms since hundreds of people were now stranded. If you have been bored up until now reading about someone else’s minor travel problems I think you will be rewarded by reading this next part.

Colleague Boy, as he will be known from now on, had spoken neither to our corporate travel service or to the hotel’s reservations service. This 30 year consulting veteran who has travelled and lived internationally got frustrated waiting for the hotel to answer the phone. He was however able to reach the guy that runs the hotel shuttle. Raoul told Colleague Boy that he would call the hotel desk and give them our two names so that they would hold the rooms. No credit card number exchanged. No confirmation number. But we had Raoul’s word. Colleague Boy waited over 45 minutes to share this with me. Here we are hoping my luggage will show, hundreds of people all around us frantically booking rooms and all I have is Raoul.

I tell Colleague Boy to call the hotel while I call our notoriously poor corporate travel service. He gets through first. Surprisingly they are not holding rooms for us. Fortunately they have two rooms available.

Much more waiting. First for the shuttle to the hotel and then standing in a long line once there. It is 10 pm before I am in my room and 11 before food arrives.

This morning consisted of more moving around. More waiting. But I made it home. A long day.

The Longest Day is also a movie about D-Day. One notable aspect of this 1962 film is that all characters speak in their native languages with sub-titles provides for those not fluent in French or German.

Change Is Good

I am slow to change. I changed jobs voluntarily once in 27 years. I just changed my hair style for the first time in over 20 years. You get the picture.

I know intellectually that embracing change is good. Heck, it is going to happen anyway whether you embrace it or not. Some of the happiest people I know have reinvented themselves at work several times.

We also tend to like change in others–as long as they conform to what we want them them to be. Then we can really embrace change–your change. That is why I very much enjoyed the January 3rd edition of the comic Pardon My Planet. I was unfamiliar with the comic. It runs in the Chicago paper that I do not read but luckily for me also in the Honolulu Advertiser.

Unfortunately the website is a month behind or I would print the specific comic. Picture a man and a woman, he in his late 50s she in her late fouties. they are well dress, sitting at a small round table in a fancy restaurant, holding hands. She looks at him and says, “Actually, I’m not afraid of change – I embrace change, I crave change. Especially if its changing something back to the way I wanted it in the first place.”

Now that’s my kind of change! (Actually I hope you are picking up on the sarcasm.)

Too often this is how people think of change. Too often this is how organizations (perhaps work/bosses) think of change.

It is soooo very easy for us to see the change needed in others, obvious really. Not so easy to see the need to change ourselves.

One last perspective on change from early SNL.